I couldn't believe it today.
Holes in my socks.
These were Gold Toes. I'd upgraded to more expensive socks. Socks don't last for me. Although not visible to me, my toes and heels are armed with blades that rip through socks.
At first, I'd blamed the sock manufacturers for making shoddy products. Every time I donned a new pair, holes would appear, mostly in the toe, but sometimes in my heels, sometimes on the balls of my feet. After trying different materials and manufacturers, I tried more expensive offerings. But they're also gaining holes very quickly. Clearly it must be me.
So I put them on and cursed. "Look at this," I told my wife. "I just bought these socks last spring. I've probably worn them like six times and they already have holes." I'm not sure if I've worn the socks six times. It sounded like a good number. But I knew, since they were Gold Toes, that I'd bought them in spring, 2012.
"You better toss them," she replied.
I pulled on my shoes. "No. I will when I take them off."
"Okay, but don't get into an accident. I don't want to be embarrassed."
"Blame the holes on the accident."
I went off with the conversation in my head. Who started all this warnings about wearing clean underwear and undergarments without socks? My mother used to warn me about it. "Make sure you clean underwear on."
That admonition puzzled me. "Why would I wear dirty underwear?" I really didn't understand. Did she wear dirty underwear except when going out? I couldn't imagine that.
My sisters always liked that and laughed whenever I responded. Mom was less impressed, giving me 'the look' and warning, "Don't be smart."
That was another puzzling warning. She didn't want me to be smart? The look kept me from asking about it.
Later I wore clean underwear but, yes, it wasn't always in good repair. "Michael, what do you do to your underwear?" Mom used to ask.
"I wear it."
"How do you get some many holes in it?"
I had no answer for that but my ever present sisters loved that question. Mom's later reminders were to make sure that I didn't have holes in my underwear, in case I was in an accident.
Really? That's your concern if I'm in an accident?
But Mom wasn't alone. Many of our mothers were concerned about our underwear if we were in an accident.
What had happened that worried them so much? Was there an accident where everyone reacted, "Boy, that was bad, but did you see their underwear?"
In the years since growing up, I yet to see a news article where the announcers said, "Two were killed in an single car accident, but police reported their underwear was in good condition."
Nor have I asked, when hearing about someone being in an accident, "Oh, my goodness, what condition was their underwear?"
I tried researching it on the Internet to see if I can learn where the national concern about underwear in accidents come from but didn't learn anything except that there are a lot of unusual queries about underwear on the Internet.
I have two final areas of concern about undergarments.
1. Is this generational? Did it start with the automobile or where they mentioning it back when the family hitched up the horses and piled into a wagon?
2. Is whether this is a strictly American concern. Up in Canada and down in Mexico, over in Europe and Africa, out in India, Russia, and Japan, and in emerging nations everywhere, are parents asking their children as they leave, "Are you wearing clean underwear?"
Does it have any holes?
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com